What is Gorilla Trekking?
What is gorilla trekking? This is one of the questions that pop up when one talks about gorilla trekking in Uganda. To many travellers out there, especially travellers visiting Africa and Uganda in particular for the very first, the term gorilla trekking is very new to them and therefore wonder what gorilla trekking is. Most often, the question what is gorilla trekking is followed by others like how much is gorilla permit? How long does gorilla tracking take? How many days do I need for gorilla tracking? Where can I do gorilla trekking from and so much more.
To answer the question “what is gorilla trekking?” as posed by a number of travellers, gorilla trekking is a primate safari activity that involves travellers hiking jungles searching for gorillas in their natural habitat so as to spend time with them. Gorilla tracking is done with the presence of park rangers whoa are armed to protect you from any kind of danger. These park rangers are also very familiar with the thick forests which gorillas usually stay in. The gorilla activity is a very thrilling and informative activity that has travellers learning more about gorillas and other park animals that they may come across, birds and plant species.
Where can I find gorillas? Or. From where can I do gorilla tracking?
Gorilla tracking is done in Africa, for it is where gorillas of all taxa are found, in their natural habitats and not in cages or zoos. Mountain gorillas in particular which most travellers want to encounter the most can only be found in the Virunga Massifs as well as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. The Virunga Massifs comprise of three primate safari parks that include Virunga National park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park found in Uganda as well. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park of Uganda alone inhabits more than a half the total world population of mountain gorillas. UNESCO world heritage sites, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Virunga National Park and Volcanoes National Park reward travellers with great gorilla experiences. You can therefore find and do mountain gorilla tracking in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo only, for they are endemic here.
The gorilla tracking experience
The gorilla tracking experience starts with you being at the starting point of gorilla trekking for your specific gorilla sector or gorilla national park you are visiting. You shall be briefed about gorilla trekking, what to expect and rules and guidelines to follow during gorilla trekking. After, you shall be placed into groups of 8 and then allocated a gorilla family to track. Clad with your hiking stick and in a company of park rangers, you shall file and start your search for gorillas in their own space. You shall be shown a number of important to know or note items by the guides, and when you are almost reaching the exact location of gorillas, you shall be notified. You shall spend only one hour with the gorillas, as you watch how they interact with each other and humans. Take pictures and videos if you may want for keeps. After, you shall trek back to the starting point and then proceed with your guide for your next in the itinerary activity. Gorilla trekking can take anything from 30 minutes to 6 hours or more depending on the location of the gorillas and the terrain.
What do I need for a gorilla trekking safari?
First of all, these gorillas live in dense tropical rainforests, and in mountainous areas thereby are quite strenuous to hike, and rains fall anytime of the day if they like despite being in the dry season. Travellers, therefore, need to have essential trekking gear like good hiking shoes, waterproof rain jacket, among others. Travellers also need to spare at least a day for trekking, as well as a gorilla permit to be allowed to trek gorillas.
What is a gorilla permit? How much is a gorilla permit?
A gorilla permit is a card that is issued to one who pays for a gorilla tracking experience in any of the gorilla destinations. Gorilla permits allow travellers to do gorilla trekking and without one you cannot. Gorilla trekking permits are few in number given the demand for gorilla trekking, booking in advance, at least 3 months to your expected date of travel, is very important lest you missed out. Gorilla permits in Uganda are issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority and they cost $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents and ugx250000 for East African citizens. For Rwanda, gorilla permits cost $1500 for all kinds of travellers while the Congo has them at $400 only. A single gorilla permit is issued per person per trek and children below 15 years do not take part in gorilla trekking.
When should I go for gorilla tracking? What is the best time for gorilla tracking?
Gorilla tracking can be done all year long. You should go for gorilla trekking when you are free and up for a gorilla safari. The best time for gorilla tracking is during the dry season definitely, which runs through the months of December to January, and June to August every year. Since gorillas live in rainforest areas rains can fall at any time of the day, even during the “dry season”. Unlike most parts of the world which receive one season at a time, most countries in Africa especially Uganda have wonderful climate which can see it rain and shine like it didn’t rain, on the same day. With this kind of climate, and weather, you can do gorilla trekking anytime of the year, provided you have appropriate gorilla trekking gear.
Where do I stay during my gorilla safari?
All these gorilla parks or gorilla destinations mentioned above have great accommodation facilities ranging from super luxury to budget, thereby catering for all kinds of traveller budgets. Your tour operator shall help you with options of lodges to stay in for the respective gorilla parks.
With this information, I believe you are now conversant enough with gorilla tracking and what entails therein that you can now book a gorilla safari package. Should you require more information, do not hesitate to get in touch with us.